A wireless gadget offers the freedom to roam around without a tether. It makes life easier. The Phiaton PS 210 BTNC, the latest wireless earbuds, are totally free from the confines of your music player. But are they really more convenient?
What Is It?
A pair of noise-cancelling Bluetooth earbuds for phones and computers.
Who's It For?
People who need headphones and unchained at the same time from the audio source.
The earbuds themselves have beautiful, conical shells with a vaguely psychedelic pattern. They connect to a silver Bluetooth control module that looks like any Bluetooth earpiece from the last 10 years.
Pair your device and all of its audio runs through these headphones. You can also answer phone calls if you're using them with your phone.
The Best Part
Sound quality is excellent with surprising clarity and solid noise-cancelling capabilities.
There's still a dangling wire that leads to an awkward Bluetooth/remote module as big as an old MP3 player that hangs down your chest (but not far enough to clip to your pants).
This Is Weird...
There's a 2.5mm audio jack for a hardwired connection, but it only plays sound in one ear.
- Tested with an iPhone and MacBook Pro.
- Listened to 320Kbps audio files and placed phone calls.
- Easily got six hours out of the battery with noise-cancelling turned on. No recharge needed.
- Volume controls for the buds are independent of system audio for your device, so you'll have to find a balance between the two.
Should You Buy It?
As far as Bluetooth headsets go, these are some of the best out there. But there's no real advantage to a Bluetooth set with a dangling dongle. You still have wires to negotiate. The Bluetooth earbud experience should be just earbuds -- no cords across the chest to interfere when putting on a jacket or backpack.
The sound quality is great, but it still can't beat a pair of wired earbuds in a similar or even lower price price range. If you absolutely need to have your earbuds in and be more than a metre or two from your device, then these are worth considering. But if you're using these with a phone, how often are you that far away from it while listening to music?
For less than these $US160 noisemakers, you can find yourself a superior-sounding pair of earbuds with an inline remote/mic -- and no need to recharge. Skip these Phiatons. If you need an unobtrusive pair of buds for running, these won our test. And if you just need a great pair of lightweight, portable headphones -- there are better options.
• Price: $US159 (distributed by Final Link Group in Australia) • Driver: 13.5mm • Sensitivity: 108dB • Compatible devices: any Bluetooth 3.0-equipped audio device • Battery life: 14 hours music playback, 12 hours talk time